Roger Federer broke the pattern of being an every-other-year champion at the Western and Southern Financial Masters event in Cincinnati, beating American Mardy Fish 6-7(5), 7-6(1), 6-4, Sunday.
Federer, the winner of Cincinnati in 2005, 2007 and 2009, added the first trophy to his collection since winning the Australian Open in January.
And although Fish was unseeded and ranked 36 in the world going into Cincinnati, it wasn’t surprising he pushed the world No. 2 to three sets.
In their last encounter, Fish defeated the all-time Grand Slam singles leader in 2008 at Indian Wells in straight sets.
“The time we played in Indian Wells I thought he came out and played the perfect match, really,” Federer said in a press conference Saturday. “It was a good match from his side. I never really got into the match.”
But that wasn’t the case Sunday.
Despite losing the first set in a tie break, Federer was in the match the whole time. He didn’t run away with it, like he did in his semifinal victory over Marcos Baghdatis, but he never gave Fish a moment to take control.
Federer held his serve the whole match, saving the one break point he faced. Fish had a slightly more difficult time holding his serve, but he saved four of five break points.
The one break point that Fish dropped was at 4-4 in the third set. After a long baseline rally, Federer pressured Fish with a heavy forehand down the line, and the American hit a backhand in the net.
In the next game, Federer held for his serve to win the match.
In the doubles final, American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi, 6-3, 6-4, to claim their third Cincinnati doubles title as a team. Their previous wins came in 2003 and 2008.
For complete scores and video highlights from Cincinnati, visit atpworldtour.com.